Friday, June 25, 2010

Emerging Artist! I like the sound of that!

2 of my paintings will be displayed in a show for "Emerging Artists" in Chicago, IL at Morpho Gallery! I am excited about this anyway, but even more so because one of my paintings is featured on the postcard for the show! I only wish I could make it to the opening on July 2nd (complete with fireworks) but alas I spent too much $$$ shipping my art across the country. You can see my art and the other artists' work on the website here. It's a slide show and mine pops up eventually. :-)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Neil Young at Jones Hall

Last night, I saw Neil Young at Jones Hall near downtown Houston with Glenn and my parents. For Glenn and I it was the 2nd time seeing him live because we saw him at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles when we lived there.

Neil Young is one of my favorite singer-songwriters, and a rock legend. Nobody sounds like him now, or probably ever will.

Bert Jansch opened the show and I was blown away. He is known for being one of the (least known) best guitar players ever- and I completely agree. I heard that his style greatly influenced JIMMY PAGE of Led Zeppelin and it makes perfect sense after hearing him perform. His music is a unique mix of blues, british folk, and classical guitar. Even though he was one person with one guitar if I was just listening I would think that there were about 4 guitar players performing up there! I decided that he should tour with Robert Plant and it would be the next best thing to having Jimmy Page.

Neil Young opened the show with "Hey Hey, My My" with acoustic guitar which was incredible. He continued to play an interesting mix of his classics as well as his new songs. My favorite of the night had to be "After the Goldrush" which he performed on an antique pipe organ. It was a unique version of one of my favorite songs. I can't help but prefer his classics to his new songs, but I must say I give him props for being so prolific and not remaining stagnant in performing only songs that he wrote 30 years ago. I enjoyed his acoustic performances in this show more than the electric because I could hear his voice and the guitar better. I'm not sure how much of this was because of the venue or where I was sitting, or just the sound mixing, but during (especially the first 2 or 3) electric songs that he played the feedback made it very hard to hear the vocals or guitar clearly and not in a good way. My dad thought that they must have turned up the guitar balance more than normal because he was doing a solo performance in a fairly large venue, but to me it echoed a bit. The only song that I can think of that I would have liked to hear that he didn't play was "Heart of Gold" but I really can't complain because I heard it 3 years ago when I saw him before.

On a side note, Neil Young fans can be OBNOXIOUS! When we saw him in LA, the people sitting right behind us yelled THE ENTIRE TIME, "PLAY DOWN BY THE RIVER PUHLEEEEEASE!" He did not play "Down by the River" at that show lol! The Houston show was refreshingly quiet with exception to a few people yelling out. One lady yelled "shut up"in response which actually kind of nipped it in the bud. I just can't imagine feeling the right to yell things at any performer on stage, much less at such a rock icon! I think some people just like getting attention.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I don't do this very often, but I have to discuss one of my biggest pet peeves: when people speak about what they do not know about. This bothers me in many facets of life, but the one I'm talking about in this blog is misconceptions about teaching.

I have encountered a lot of people expressing their opinions about teachers in general as well as specifically about the job of an art teacher.

Assumption #1: "I should be a teacher because they get 3 months off!"
First of all, it really is not quite 3 months. Next, teacher contracts are only for 187 days, therefore, WE ARE ONLY GETTING PAID for the time we are working. I think it is safe to say that those in the education field are among the highest educated, lowest paid population of people. Most teachers don't do it for the money, but because they find it rewarding in some way. Hey I'm all for having year round school if teachers get paid for their time! I have never complained about my salary because in Texas we are paid much better than in many states. Although, in my mind, shouldn't teachers be paid well? Without well-educated teachers to inspire children to be the best they can be, what would happen? I know that personally my summer will consist of writing lesson plans/planning for next year, attending numerous professional development classes (total right now is 6 7hr classes) Yes, some of these cost $$$ and no I don't get reimbursed or compensated. I am also in class for my master's degree which is obviously in a related subject to the subject that I teach. I won't even get into how much I buy for my classes out of my pocket either...

Assumption #2: "teachers get to go home at 3:30"
I don't know ANY teacher who has the same schedule as the students. Teachers arrive early and stay late. They bring grading and work home. They spend entire weekends at competitions and other events for the students. Teaching is not a job that you can leave at the office.

Assumption #3: teaching art is "fun" and "easy" because it is not a core subject.
Yes, teaching art does have fun moments! It should be fun! Let me clarify though, that in order for the students to have fun, it takes A LOT of planning and preparation from guess who... the TEACHER! This is not "easy." Rewarding is the term I would use more than "fun" or "easy". What other kind of teacher is expected to teach 6 different age groups/ have 6 different preps? (I'm sure there are some, but who knows?) I had 24 sections of kids this year! We have expectations from the state, district, school, art coordinator; shows to put up throughout the year, as well as competitions. Anyone who has been in a room with 48 Kindergarten kids using scissors in close quarters knows that the job of a fine arts teacher can be called a lot of things, but "easy" is not one of them! It is challenging in a DIFFERENT way than being an academic or homeroom teacher. Guess how many lbs I lost 1st semester strictly due to NEVER sitting down/stress/not having time to eat lunch some days...nearly 20lbs!

I would NEVER pretend to know what an engineer, astronaut, mom, financial trader, business owner, or math teacher goes through in the midst of their daily duties, so you know what- I would never assume that it is "easy." I call that "ignorant."